Mass Effect Andromeda: Sci-Fi immersion

Realism and humankind in the future Mass Effect is a franchise which examines science fiction with a sincere interest in representing how science and technology can shape culture and inform our understanding of what it means to have a successful and prosperous society in the future.  Mass Effect achieves this by presenting the player with the varied challenges…

Sci-fi game or Sci-fi wrapper: how many “sci-fi games” lack a sci-fi narrative

The magic of science Science fiction is one of my favorite themes within video games.  The tales of science and technology beyond our understanding is fascinating to me.  When speaking of technology and our comprehension of it, British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke famously noted “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”, an adage which…

Lucio: how going from an FPS to MOBA made him better

As I have written in the past, I love playing the support class in multiplayer games. You can read more about my views on the support class and MOBAs in my articles: Teemo Support: is support a class or a playstyle?, and Team Games: roles and respect. Something about providing protection and utility to a team fight is far…

 Breath of the Wild: growing knuckles 

I am always intrigued by how developers conquer the game design challenge of traversal, how to make it fun, look fluid, and feel responsive. One of the most impactful game mechanics I have ever encountered came in the form of the climbing and glide mechanics introduced with the character of Knucklers in Sonic and Knuckles which I…

Ludology: a mysterious field in a familiar industry

My journey through the video game industry is one many can relate to. I have spent countless hours discussing the big plans each developer has for their career, and pondered the many ways we could find fulfilling work that allowed us to contribute our skills to the industry. Some wanted to be QA managers, others…

Super Smash Bros.: A showcase of Nintendo’s mechanics

Nintendo has created a cornucopia of characters and game worlds in their decades of game development. Each representing a different genre including: adventure with the Mario & Pokémon franchise, high fantasy with Zelda & Kid Icarus, sci-fi with Star Fox and Metroid, and beyond. Each unique character has allowed Nintendo to explore a vast variety of game…

Angry Birds Transformers: physics birds in disguise

When I first saw an ad for Angry Birds Transformers I immediately thought it was a hoax. We all know the type, ones that show us Starcraft screenshots and claim to be an addicting space game, when they’re actually just boring combat builders released yesterday with 2 reviews saying they weren’t what the ads showed….

The Wolf Among Us: Being big and being bad

In my article The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind I explored the challenge of sticking to one’s morals when others are in danger, and choosing between results and righteousness.  In my first playthrough of The Wolf Among Us I chose to focus on being diplomatic and kind.  After seeing the results of my choices…

The Wolf Among Us: being brave and kind

In narrative games I typically try to steer more towards being kind and diplomatic, yet The Wolf Among Us makes it clear that being nice is a luxury the player cannot afford via a world with dire consequences for not getting to the truth in time. Its timed dialogue selection sequences force the player to be decisive…

Snap Judgement: Risky Road

As consumers we often make snap judgements about the games we play; in my article Analyzing games: studying vs consuming, I discussed the challenges we face when trying to study games for their true value as opposed to simply going by our user experience as consumers. However, in the mobile market we often come across games…

Drawing a connection: mechanics & theme

Games today focus heavily on theme, whether we are talking about board games or video games, theme plays a major part in deciding what games get published. A byproduct of this mentality and marketing strategy is that we often see the exact same mechanics being reskinned over and over to sell to a demographic based…